24 hours before the exam

With one day left to go, I felt a bit anxious and the nerves were kicking in. 

I woke up early Sunday morning and decided to put the whole day aside to doing some revision and practice questions. I’d decided to take the exam on the first day available to get it out of the way – but I was regretting this decision now! 

I wanted to put myself in strict exam conditions to mimic the exam environment so I felt more ready on the actual test day. I’d saved one of the UCAT Masterclass online exams so that I could have a real practice run before exam day. 

After a light breakfast, I sat at my computer and did the 2-hour exam simulation. Perhaps it was the stress of the exam the next day, but I felt like time was passing by so quickly. I was nervous about how I would perform the next day and I could tell I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I would have hoped! I always struggle with Abstract Reasoning and I did worse than I’d expected in this section that morning.

After I’d finished the practice exam, it was early afternoon and I knew I had to brush up on Abstract Reasoning. I did some quiz questions and read through my theory notes and examples to brush up on the most common patterns in Abstract Reasoning. 

I wanted a good night’s sleep before the exam so I had a bit of down time after dinner and got ready for bed. 

The day of the exam

After weeks of preparation, it was finally the day of the UCAT exam.

I took the exam at 321 Pitt Street Sydney. I arrived at the test centre 30 minutes earlier than my scheduled exam time to check-in and get organised. 

I showed them my driver's licence (you can also use any of the photo IDs listed here) and a printed out version of my confirmation email.

I was allowed to place my bag and belongings in a locker. You’re not allowed to bring anything into the test room with you, not even food or drinks. 

I was checked to make sure I had nothing in my pockets. The supervisors asked me to pat my pockets and lift up my sleeves before entering the exam room. They were friendly about it which made it feel less intimidating.

I was given a laminated note board and a pen. I asked for extra pieces of note board at the beginning to save time in the exam.

I was about 30 minutes early to the examination and was asked if I wanted to sit the exam straight away. That suited me fine! 

I headed into the exam room to my assigned computer. There were 16 computers set up in the room, with around 9 candidates already taking the exam. 

You can choose when to start the exam after you have settled in. I took some time to take a few deep breaths and make sure everything at my test station was set up: 

  • I adjusted my seat height

  • I made sure my keyboard and number pad were working

  • I set up my note board on my desk

  • And made sure that the pen was working.

What to expect in the exam

The UCAT question types were very similar to the UKCAT practice tests and UCAT Masterclass practice exams I had done online. If anything, the real exam was a tad easier than the UCAT Masterclass practice exams so I felt really prepared going into the real thing.

As I expected, the timing was extremely tight and I only had time to spare in Situational Judgement. Overall, I was happy that I kept pace during most of the exam and managed to answer all of the questions in 4 of the 5 sections, even if I had to guesstimate some of the more difficult ones. 

Verbal Reasoning

  • I was super disappointed that I lost track of time in Verbal Reasoning. I left about 10 questions unanswered at the end of the section. This is a huge mistake in the UCAT which has no negative marking.

  • Each of the passages was three to four short paragraphs and there were a lot of historical names used.

Decision Making

  • The order of the questions was as I had expected - Syllogisms, Logic Puzzles, Strongest Argument, Interpreting Information then Probability.

  • The Venn diagram questions were easier than the practice ones I had done.

Quantitative Reasoning

  • The Quantitative Reasoning section was much easier than I had anticipated. There were no long passages of information. 

  • I did use my calculator a lot but most calculations were straightforward. The majority of questions involved percentage calculations and there were a lot that involved conversions.

  • The main currency used was pounds, which makes sense since UCAT comes from UKCAT.

Abstract Reasoning

  • The shapes that were used were quite basic (lines and regular shapes). However, I still had to guess some of the patterns as this is my weakest section.

  • The sequence and analogy questions at the end were very straightforward.

Situational Judgement

  • This was my least time pressured subtest - I finished with about 10 minutes to spare.

  • The types of scenarios were quite standard. There were scenarios involving doctors, dentists, nurses and patients as well as some university based scenarios.

3 surprises...

  1. I could sit the exam immediately despite turning up early (or at least this was my experience).

  2. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere – the candidates already there were quietly sitting their exam and the exam supervisors would pop in and out as they pleased to take candidates to their seats.

  3. I received my results online! I received an email 20 minutes after I had finished my exam saying my results were available online. You simply login to your Pearson’s account and you can see your results there after you leave the exam.

5 of my top tips

  1. Make sure you go to the bathroom before beginning the exam. You have 120 minutes to complete the UCAT and there are no breaks, so any bathroom breaks will eat into your exam time.

  2. Set everything up at your test station and make sure you are comfortable before commencing the exam.

  3. Use the time in between each subtest to take deep breaths or write down anything you need to use in the next subtest (key formulas or other information you can use).

  4. Don't spend too long on any one question. Whenever you are stuck on a question, guess an answer, flag the question, and move on. You can return to the question at the end if you have time.

  5. Use the UCAT keyboard shortcuts - this will save you precious time in the exam. 

If you are sitting the UCAT exam, good luck!

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